Children's literature

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Children's literature is for readers and listeners up to about age twelve and is often illustrated. The term is used in senses which sometimes exclude young-adult fiction, comic books, or other genres. Books specifically for children existed by the 17th century. Scholarship on children's literature includes professional organizations, dedicated publications and university courses.


Defining children's literature

There is some debate on what constitutes children's literature.

Books written by children
A much-overlooked kind of children's literature is work written by children and young teens, such as The Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford (aged nine) or the juvenilia of Jane Austen, written to amuse brothers and sisters. Anne Frank wrote a novel and many short stories in addition to her diary. Barbara Newhall Follett wrote four books, beginning with a novel called The House Without Windows at the age of nine; when the manuscript was destroyed in a fire, she rewrote it from memory. Dorothy Straight's How the World Began and S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders are more recent examples.

Books written for children
Perhaps the most common definition of children's literature is those books intentionally written for children. Nancy Anderson, associate professor in the College of Education at the University of South Florida in Tampa,[1] defines children's literature as all books written for children, "excluding works such as comic books, joke books, cartoon books, and nonfiction works that are not intended to be read from front to back, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference material".[2] Some of this work is also very popular among adults. J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series was originally written and marketed for children, but it was so popular among children and adults that The New York Times created a separate bestseller list. Often no consensus is reached whether a given work is best categorized as adult or children's literature, and many books are marketed for both adults and children.

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